WASHINGTON, DC – “The majority of journalists adhere to the rules; there’s swift justice for writers who stray. But, too many reporters have been taking liberties in recent years and getting away with it, especially some of those who cover social and political issues. Why do they do that? Because they may have a political agenda or because, quite literally, they are eager to make headlines,” says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Weber made his comment in the midst of what appears to be a rising tide of anti-Trump sentiment among some reporters and editors seemingly eager to report on his tenure so far in negative terms. “Ironically, there have been numerous news reports of the extraordinarily negative media coverage Mr. Trump has received during his campaign and throughout his first 100 days in office,” according to Weber.
Veteran journalist Joe Concha, media reporter for the highly regarded political Web site, The Hill, says, “there is a vitriol towards Donald Trump that we have never seen with any other president.” In a recent TV interview, Concha cited researchers who showed that 89% of the coverage of the Trump administration has been generally negative. The studies showed that 97% of the Trump reporting by the CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News is biased. Concha said “that tells me that there’s probably an agenda.”
Few would disagree that the Trump Administration has been perhaps the most transparent in history when it comes to dealing with the media. Yet, the media says he is a threat to the First Amendment. As Concha put it: “On one hand, the Trump Administration is totally about access, and on the other hand, there are press freedoms being threatened. How does that square exactly?”
The facts speak for themselves, says Weber. White House spokesman Sean Spicer holds more press briefings, he takes more questions from reporters and has expanded access to the White House press room by providing considerably more press passes and introducing the use of Skype for reporters unable to be at the briefings in person. Meanwhile, President Trump has done more media interviews with a more diverse group of media outlets than any president in recent memory.
News reporters are bound by a code of ethics, according to Weber. “They are supposed to stick to the facts. They should not be taking advantage of the stories they are covering to promote personal agendas. They need to take the integrity principle seriously and, if they don’t, their editors should be there to strictly enforce the code. Editorials are for the editorial pages. It’s bad enough that anyone with a computer, a basic knowledge of grammar and a vivid imagination can be a reporter these days by posting their so-called news stories on the Internet. These new age town criers have no rules; they are free to twist and turn their so-called coverage of an event or personality to suit their personal agendas. But when mainstream reporters do it, we all lose. We lose confidence in the purpose and accuracy of the stories we read in the morning paper and those we watch on the evening news. Media integrity is more important than ever in the Trump era.”